Ryanair passengers are forced to sit in temperatures of up to 80 degrees because pilots are advised not to turn on the air conditioning.
Crews are instructed to switch on the cool air from overhead vents just prior to closing the doors for take-off as running the systems increases fuel costs.
The official pilot’s manual also says that the power unit used to run the air conditioning should typically be switched on after the temperature gauge hits 25C (77f).
It means many passengers are made to sit in uncomfortable conditions as the budget airline seeks to save money.
Angry pilots contacted MailOnline to lift the lid on the penny pinching attitude of the no thrills budget airline run by its under-fire boss Michael O’Leary.
Under pressure: Ryanair Chief executive Michael O’Leary looked to be feeling the strain this weekend as he headed to the rugby pitch to train a team of under-11s
Crisis point: The Ryanair boss is facing an unprecedented crisis in the airline he founded with pilots apparently plotting revenge action after 400,000 flights were cancelled
Strain: The 56-year-old airline boss, who has four young children, is under significant pressure after Ryanair’s ‘shambolic’ performance in the last few weeks
Ryanair has come under fire for ruining the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people by cancelling over 2,000 flights because of a shortage of pilots.
Today another 400,000 bookings were axed in the crisis over pilots’ holiday, with the airline left without enough qualified staff to meet their flight obligations.
Even an offer of a €12,000 bonus from beleaguered airline chiefs has failed to persuade pilots to cancel their annual leave and rescue Ryanair from its worst ever PR crisis.
Many of the 4,000 pilots working for the budget airline are said to be considering a work to rule or taking mass sick days they are so unhappy with their working conditions.
‘Almost every pilot has utter contempt for Michael O’Leary and the way he treats us,’ said one pilot who asked to remain anonymous.
‘He will say anything and seems to get away with it.’
Support: Michael O’Leary spent the weekend at home with wife Anita O’Leary, pictured above, and the couples’ four children after a terrible week at the airline
Dishevelled: Michael O’Leary cut a slightly ramshackle figure as he headed out to rugby training at the weekend after days of intense pressure at Ryanair over the cancelled flights fiasco
Row: At the Ryanair AGM Michael O’Leart said his pilots could not be fatigued as they work no more than 18.5hrs a week
‘At the Ryanair AGM he said his pilots could not be fatigued as they work no more than 18.5hrs a week. There isn’t a Captain or First Officer that isn’t doing between 40-45hours a week and whose working day begins at 5am.
‘O’Leary knows this, but still has the front to come out and try to make out the problems are due to staff holidays.’ Ryanair said it was not true that pilots fly over 18.5 hours.
While Ryanair’s penny-pinching approach to passengers is well known – from charging for luggage and printing a boarding pass at the airport – pilots claimed that they are under pressure too.
One told how they are urged not to switch on the air conditioning when the plane is on the ground to save money.
They said: ‘When a plane is parked up the power comes from a small turbine unit called an APU – Auxillary Power Unit.
‘It powers all the electrics on the plane, such as the air conditioning, and is run on aviation fuel.
‘We are told to use the APU as little as possible because the less use there is means less fuel being used.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary at the Ryanair AGM in Dublin where he was heckled after the ‘shambolic’ cancellation of hundreds of thousands of flights
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary is facing action from pilots after crews rejected cash bonuses to commit to the airline
‘The APU uses less than 100kg of fuel which is a tiny amount, but shows that the company only thinks about savings. Next time a passenger sits on a stinking hot plane with no air conditioning it is because O’Leary wants to save a few Euros. It doesn’t matter that passengers board a hot aircraft and sit there in the heat for sometime.
‘Not all crew follow the directive, but many do and it just makes it uncomfortable for the passengers.
‘But O’Leary doesn’t care as all he worries about is saving money or how much he can squeeze out of those who use the airline.’
The controversial airline boss was seen at the weekend taking time out from the crisis as he taught youngsters rugby at the local club near his home in Mullingar, Ireland.
The billionaire Chief Executive put aside any corporate woes to put a group of under 11s through their paces at their regular Saturday morning training session in County Westmeath, about an hour’s drive from Ryanair headquarters near Dublin.
Dressed in black shorts, red socks, a light-blue rugby shirt and a tiger-print fleece the 56-year-old could have been just another dad sharing his love of rugby with his son and their friends as a volunteer coach at the rural club, the backbone of Irish rugby.
Ryanair has stranded many customers with Rebecca Brown and Neil Johnson forced to spend up to £1,500 of their own money on new flights to get home
Stuart and Sheila Mackenzie learned their flight from Bristol to Spain was cancelled via text and they had to rush to Stansted to save their holiday
But with his hectoring calls of ‘forward, forward!’ and frequent peels of the whistle it was obvious that the man in charge had high expectations of the young team.
The billionaire businessman was tough with anyone refused to pass the ball at his command.
His own son stood shivering behind the goal posts in the light drizzle of rain for the final minutes of the training session after traipsing off the pitch looking glum.
The aggressive ‘take no prisoners’ approach comes as no surprise to anyone who has come into close contact with O’Leary, who opened up Europe with the no-thrills low-cost airline Ryanair.
Despite the no-frills appearance of himself and his airline, Michael O’Leary comes from a hugely privileged background.
He attended one Ireland’s most exclusive boarding schools where past pupils include the writer James Joyce and many former government ministers.
Humble: The town of Mullingar where O’Leary lives atvthe prestigious Gigginstown House, which is hidden behind high stone walls and among the rolling hills of his own horse stud farm
Origins: The stunning mansion where Michael O’Leary now lives is a world away from the small street in Mullingar, outside Dublin, where Michael O’Leary grew up with family as a child
Learning fast: Michael O’Leary used to run a newsagents where he boasted of making money by trebling the cost of batteries on Christmas Day. The sprawling Kestril pub took over the site in Walkinstown, Dublin, some time ago (pictured)
But one long-time observer of O’Leary was at pains to portray him as a committed family man. She told MailOnline: ‘He’s all about family and work, really, family is all important.
‘Locally he is very active in the community, he’s very proud of Westmeath and will do anything he can to help a local cause.
‘He gives a lot to charity without any comeback or fanfare.’
A former colleague, who like most people MailOnline contacted to comment on Michael O’Leary asked not to be named, added: ‘What you see is what you get.
‘He works very hard and he expects the same of his colleagues and employees.
‘He’s extremely direct and straightforward.
‘If he gets it wrong he’ll be the first to say it. Mess up, hands up – that’d be his approach and right now he’ll be concentrating on rolling up his sleeves and dealing with the problem.
‘Some might say he’s difficult to work with but if you look at the key people around him they’ve all been there 20 years.
‘He’s down to earth and would turn up at Christmas parties, he knows how to have a good time.’
Staff however paint a less forgiving picture. MailOnline was barred from the ‘open to the media’ Ryanair Annual General Meeting last week. Apparently all media allocated spaces had been taken, a spokeswoman claimed. Sky News walked into the AGM without allocation an hour later.
Outspoken: Chief executive Michael O’Leary said he couldn’t give a ‘rats a**’ about the plunging share price last week
Penny-pinching: One pilot described O’Leary as ‘a slave driver’ who wanted to save money at every turn
One pilot told MailOnline: ‘He is a slave driver. Everything is done on the cheap.’
Another pilot – once derided by O’Leary as ‘glorified taxi drivers – claimed: ‘When I joined Ryanair and was with the pilot training unit, we had to do mandatory water safety training.
‘Unlike the other big airlines, we did it in a public pool. When they told me first, I thought they were joking.’
None of this comes as a surprise given O’Leary’s entrepreneurial drive from the earliest age. Always blessed with self-assurance – described as arrogance by his critics – O’Leary breezed through Trinity College, the country’s most prestigious university and landed on his feet in the Dublin offices of management consultancy KPMG as an accountant.
Queues form at the Ryanair desk at Stansted today as customers face six weeks of cancellations
The second of six children and the oldest son, a young Michael grew up in a smart red-brick terraced house in Mullingar, a bustling country town in County Westmeath, in the heart of Ireland’s horse-mad ‘midlands’.
He has described the bedroom he shared with his two younger brothers as ‘a black hole’, in the unauthorized biography ‘Michael O’Leary A Life in Full Flight’, written by one of Ireland’s finest journalists Alan Ruddock.
His father Timothy ‘Ted’ O’Leary’s rollercoaster entrepreneurship ensured that the young Michael understood the need to make a profit, as the family were forced to sell the house when their textile factory went bust.
‘My father used to set up businesses that would be successful for the first few years and then go bust,’ O’Leary said in a TV interview.
‘When he went bust he would sell the house, and when he made money he would buy another house.’
There was however enough money to send him and his siblings to €19,500-a-year Clongowes Wood College boarding school.
Here O’Leary established himself at the heart of Ireland’s rural ‘horsey’ elite, and make lifelong friends with Shane Ryan, the son of Ryanair founder Tony Ryan.
Former students include the writer James Joyce and former government ministers. He worked as a barman at the popular Greville Arms Hotel during the holidays.
But it was his mother Gerarda, known as ‘Ger’, who was the biggest influence, according to an old friend.
‘Michael was dating a girl from near his home town when he was in his twenties,’ she told MailOnline.
‘But it was his mum who ruled the roost and he obeyed her, she was the only person he obeyed.’
She said: ‘Michael was working as an accountant, he’d a big job in Dublin.
‘But every week, he sent his washing home to his mother to be done.
‘It wasn’t like he was short of money but he liked her to do it and she liked to keep her hand in. She delivered it neat to him every Monday.’
Devoted son Michael has repaid his doting mother, inviting her to move into his sprawling Gigginstown House country mansion, following the death of his father Ted in 2011.
The friend added: ‘His demeanour is not an act, he really believes he’s great and right about everything.’
However, it is O’Leary’s first business success that gives the clearest insight into the man who threw the free-drinks trolley out of the cockpit window and replaced it with paid-for snacks.
He has recalled how he made a fortune out of desperate parents on Christmas Day by trebling the cost of batteries – needed to power electric toys – as well as inflating the cost of last-minute presents, at the three news agents he ran in Dublin.
‘I had this theory that people were stuck on Christmas Day for stuff,’ O’Leary told author Alan Ruddock in a newspaper interview.
‘So we bought these big boxes of chocolates. And we stocked up on an unbelievable quantity of batteries.
‘And we spent most of Christmas Eve trebling the price of batteries and the price of the big box of chocolates.
‘By lunchtime on Christmas Day we had been cleaned out. Of everything.’
O’Leary continued: ‘I had tripled the price of batteries and I still sold them out.
‘And we took in about £14,000 in the day, fourteen times the normal turnover.’
The newsagents in question, ‘Desmond’s’, is no longer standing as the sprawling Kestril pub took over the site in Walkinstown, Dublin, some time ago.
The second of six children and the oldest son, a young Michael grew up in the bustling country town in County Westmeath, above, in the heart of Ireland’s horse-mad ‘midlands’
Michael O’Leary has said: ‘The airline industry is full of bull-sh*tters, liars and drunks. We excel at all three in Ireland.’ Pictured: His home town of Mullingar
The second of six children and the oldest son, O’Leary grew up in Mullingar, a bustling country town in County Westmeath, in the heart of Ireland’s horse and rugby mad ‘midlands’.
‘O’Leary was utterly ruthless, even then,’ one old lady, Mary, told MailOnline as she took part in a croquet class across the road from the Kestril pub.
O’Leary had gambled on making a success of Desmond’s after quitting the suffocating corporate life of KPMG, where he had worked as an accountant and tax adviser. Buying the newsagents in 1986 he worked long hours to make the shop a success.
He recalled: ‘I’d open at seven in the morning and close at eleven at night. Treble the turnover, treble your money.
‘You learn day one that my costs are this, my sales are that and what’s in the middle is my profit.
‘So you drive down costs, increasing sales and increasing your margin.’
In 1988 O’Leary would take his sharpened business practice to Ryanair after being persuaded by founder Tony Ryan to be his right-hand man. Since then he has made many outrageous remarks.
These include: ‘We don’t want to hear your sob stories. What part of ‘no refund’ don’t you understand?’
‘Nobody wants to sit beside a really fat bastard on board. We have been frankly astonished at the number of customers who not only want to tax fat people but torture them.’
‘I don’t give a shit if no one likes me. I’m not a cloud bunny or an aerosexual. I don’t like aeroplanes. I never wanted to be a pilot like those other platoons of goons who populate the airline industry.’
‘People either see me as Jesus, Superman or an odious little shit. I think I’m Jesus. A prophet in his own time.’
But after almost 30 years in charge Ryanair is Europe’s biggest airline, flying more than 130 million passengers from 86 bases to over 205 destinations in 33 countries on a fleet of 430 aircraft.
O’Leary has made a €1 billion personal fortune, he lives at sprawling the prestigious Gigginstown House, which is hidden behind high stone walls and among the rolling hills of his own horse stud farm, with his glamourous former stockbroker wife, Anita Farrell, with whom he has two sons and two daughters.
Their 2003 marriage, at nearby St Livinius church, was the society wedding of the year. On the day he joked his bride was 35 minutes late because she had flown with Aer Lingus. And he heaped praise on his glamourous wife at the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year  when his horse Don Cossack romped into victory.
He said: ‘I always like to try and have a winner when Anita is here as she doesn’t go racing that often with the children so it is very nice to win the Gold Cup when she is here.’ ‘Michael and Anita are extremely happily married,’ a friend told MailOnline.
‘They are not big socialites. Most of their public appearances are at race meets where their horses are running and the odd Ireland international rugby games.
‘But they love travelling. They holiday every year in a rented villa in Portugal and ski every February in St Mortiz, Switzerland.’